Marijuana Legalization Now On California’s November Ballot

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The November elections ballot for California will now include an initiative to legalize the use of marijuana for recreational purposes. The move is likely to have a significant impact on the rest of the nation, given the state’s size and political influence, and is expected to have implications for similar efforts in other states, reports The Sacramento Bee.

A random sample of over 606,000 Californian signatures submitted last month by supporters of the legalization campaign cleared the required threshold to be put on the November ballot, reports an updated tally posted Tuesday by the Secretary of State’s Office. This number is above and beyond the 365,000 signatures needed to qualify for inclusion [on the ballot].

The campaign will be celebrated with a kickoff in downtown San Francisco. Democratic Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, the highest-ranking government official supporting the bill, will be joined by supporters from the medical community, environmental and drug policy reform groups, and law enforcement members at the event.

Jason Kinney, a spokesperson for California’s Adult Use of Marijuana Act, said in a statement, “Today marks a fresh start for California, as we prepare to replace the costly, harmful and ineffective system of prohibition with a safe, legal and responsible adult-use marijuana system that gets it right and completely pays for itself.”

The measure comes six years after Proposition 19 was defeated by a narrow margin – another move that attempted to legalize cannabis in The Golden State. Unlike that proposal, this latest initiative has the support of numerous groups and government officials, including Newsom and massive financial backing from billionaire entrepreneur Sean Parker.

Law enforcement groups have been opposing the move, but have been heavily outnumbered so far.

Tuesday’s qualifications raise the number of measures set to be voted on by California’s population to 12, as election officials continue to assess signatures submitted by supporters of six more proposed initiatives. The qualification deadline for all measures is Thursday.

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